10 Benefits of Recumbent Bikes – 2023 Guide
In addition to comparing upright and recumbent bikes, this post will outline the advantages of recumbent bikes.
For cardio and lower-body workouts, recumbent bikes are still a popular option. They feel more comfortable for some people than upright stationary bikes. Others simply enjoy them more than other cardio equipment and activities.
What is a Recumbent Bike?
A recumbent exercise bike allows you to ride while lying back. This allows riders to read or watch television while exercising, encouraging them to stay on the bike longer without getting bored.
This is critical because you need to work out for a sufficient amount of time to reap the full rewards of your workout.1 But you shouldn’t let these interruptions cause your workout intensity to decline. To make progress with your fitness program, keep pushing your body.
Due to their reclining position, many people believe that recumbent bikes are more comfortable than other types of exercise equipment. Recumbent bikes are a great way to start if you’ve never ridden before or are new to cardio in general, whether you use a stationary model or one that lets you ride outside.
However, experienced exercisers can also use recumbent bikes. The difficulty of a recumbent bike can be increased by changing your pedaling speed, increasing the resistance, or cycling backward. You can easily tailor your workout to meet your fitness level and goals.
The top recumbent bikes have been tried, tested, and reviewed. Look into which model might be the best for you if you’re looking for a recumbent bike.
Recumbent Bike Benefits
The recumbent bike is a useful piece of stationary equipment to improve cardiovascular fitness,2 promote muscular strength, and restore your range of motion. These bikes are comfortable, have a back rest, and are gentle on your joints. Additionally, you can adjust the speed and incline of the workout to suit your preferences, which makes it a better option for those with cardiac restrictions. Here is a closer look at these specific benefits and more.
Is a Tremendous Cardiovascular Workout
Cyclists are among the world’s fittest people. Biking is an ideal form of cardiovascular exercise and a recumbent bike gives you this excellent exercise choice. Cycling is a core-strengthening exercise because it requires your upper body to be held in place while you exercise your legs.
The majority of people are unaware that cycling can raise your heart rate nearly as much as running does, without the corresponding joint and tendon problems. Cycling is a great option for getting fit and losing weight because it can burn 400 calories per hour on average.
Is Easier on Your Back
Biking is undoubtedly a fantastic form of exercise, but the position of the upper body on a regular upright bike, whether stationary or not, can still strain the back. The recumbent bike takes away this issue with the declined seating position.
On a regular bike, you might become fatigued and hunch your back over the handlebars for more support. The lumbar spine is put under a lot of strain as a result. Fortunately, this issue is taken away with the recumbent bike as when fatigue sets in, you still have the seat back to keep you supported.
The recumbent bike is the ideal choice for seniors, those with back injuries, or anyone needing a good workout without unneeded pressure on the back.
At Any Time
However great it is to cycle outside, there are only so many times you can do it. The importance of safety makes exercising at night practically impossible. Then there are the weather conditions. Cycling is probably not the best option if there is any kind of bad weather.
The big advantage of a recumbent bike is that you can exercise at any time of day you like, and don’t have to worry about the conditions outside. This makes maintaining a regular exercise schedule simpler. If you enjoy working out in the morning and intend to do so consistently, a rainy day might interfere with your biking plans. Nothing will prevent you from working out on the recumbent bike at home, and consistency is essential for seeing results.
Less Pressure on Your Joints
This is one of the big benefits of any form of cycling–but especially the recumbent bike. Running can be a great workout, but the repeated impact of running on hard surfaces or on a treadmill can wear down the joints over time. With a recumbent bike, you take away that pressure and impact from your joints and tendons–specifically in your knees and ankles.
As opposed to other activities where you might have to stop short due to discomfort, this will enable you to exercise for a longer period of time or at a higher intensity. The Arthritis Foundation additionally advises recumbent biking for people with various forms of arthritis. so they are the ideal choice for anyone with joint issues who don’t want to stop exercising.
Take Up Less Room
Treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, and multigyms are other excellent options for cardio equipment, but they take up a lot of space. The option of having these larger pieces of equipment may not be available if your space is limited.
A recumbent bike is compact, does not take up a lot of room, and can be stored in the corner of a room. For people who live in apartments or smaller spaces, they are the best option. Some varieties also fold up and have wheels, allowing you to pull the bike out when you need it and then store it away to preserve more space.
A More Affordable Option
Not all fitness equipment is inexpensive. You get what you pay for with most things, so there’s no point in purchasing a cheap treadmill if it will fall apart after a few months. A recumbent bike is a less expensive option when compared to larger pieces of cardio equipment. It’s perfect for people on a tight budget or those who want to add a straightforward piece of cardio equipment to their home gym setup.
Some people prefer them in addition to a gym membership. A great alternative and reasonably priced addition to your gym membership is the ability to perform cardio exercises at home.
Build Stronger Bones
Cycling is frequently perceived as a purely cardiovascular activity. Peddling can increase bone density in addition to strengthening the leg muscles. This makes it a fantastic option for elderly people or people with osteoporosis. Also read: What Muscles Does a Recumbent Bike Work?
Peddling is able to strengthen the bones because of the act of pushing the pedals puls on the surrounding muscles. Following a muscle pull, the bones to which it is attached will also pull. This is one of the key factors in improving bone density and it’s why it’s so important for seniors–and everyone–to exercise. A recumbent bike offers a safe, low-impact exercise option that is not only good for your heart but also helps your bones.
A Great Option for Those With Neurological Conditions
Neurological conditions can impair balance in some people. They can often exercise normally because there are no additional physical issues. However, if you’re running on an elliptical or treadmill, any chance of losing your balance or becoming disoriented could be dangerous. A stationary bike that is upright can also become dangerous.
A recumbent bike provides a safe solution for anyone with these issues. An individual experiencing any type of neurological episode will benefit from being in a supported, reclined position. The body and brain won’t be subjected to too much jarring because the recumbent bike is also incredibly stable.
Great for All Ability Levels
A recumbent bike can be used by anyone, including children and seniors. You can benefit from a bike even if you can’t ride it. This lends itself well to multiple members in the same household making it a truly universal piece of cardio equipment. There isn’t a learning curve to them, as you just have to sit down and peddle. Being supported and safe allows you to watch TV, listen to music, or even read.
Everyone can use and benefit from a recumbent bike, regardless of whether they are a top athlete or have mobility issues.
Beneficial for Those of Varying Sizes
If you are taller, shorter, or can lift more weight, some cardio equipment may be challenging for you to use. They may be challenging to use or even to set up in because of this. Recumbent stationary bikes are advantageous for people who can support more weight than an upright stationary bike because they frequently have a larger capacity. Numerous the machines can support weights of up to 300 pounds and even more.
A recumbent bike can be used by people who are overweight to accommodate them as well as provide a safe and effective form of exercise. Their weight is also better supported in the recumbent position and there is again the lack of impact on joints and ligaments.
Recumbent Bikes Vs. Upright Bikes
Both an upright (traditional) and a recumbent (laid back) position are available on stationary bikes. Compared to the majority of other cardio equipment, such as treadmills, both types of bikes are less harsh on your joints. It all depends on how comfortable you are riding an upright or a recumbent bike. Here are a few variations to take into account.
- Reclined body position
- Pedals positioned in front of the body
- Larger seat
- Full back support
- Comfortable sitting position
- Reduced upper body tension and muscle fatigue
- Focused lower body and cardiovascular exercise
- Upright body position
- Pedals positioned under the body
- Smaller seat
- Limited upper body support
- Upright seated position may cause upper body fatigue/tension
- More consistent workout similar to outdoor riding
- Whole body and cardiovascular exercise
Are Recumbent Bike Workouts Effective?
Recumbent bikes may seem like easy cardio, but looks can be deceiving. The small studies that follow demonstrate that a good workout can be obtained on a recumbent bike.
Over time, regular aerobic exercise helps to lower high blood pressure, improve lung function, and strengthen your heart. It can be a fantastic way to reduce stress and improve your mood.
The use of a recumbent bike offers the same advantages, according to research involving a group of healthy males. This study involved performing four 60-second sprints on the bikes, with pedal speeds between 80 and 100 repetitions per minute.5
An additional study discovered that by making exercise enjoyable for young people, combining a bike with an online platform significantly improves cardiovascular fitness. This piece of research involved youth with cerebral palsy and reported that they had “significant” fitness improvements after cycling.6
What Makes An “Effective” Workout?
Every individual is different in what they would consider an “effective” workout. An exercise or workout style is considered effective if it can help the participant advance toward their fitness goals by offering the desired physical test.
Muscles worked in a recumbent bike workout include:
- Quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis)
- Hamstrings (semitendinosus, biceps femoris)
- Shins (tibialis anterior)
- Calf muscles (medial gastrocnemius)
- Glutes (gluteus maximus)
After using a bike for eight weeks, healthy older women’s muscle strength, power, and functional abilities improved, according to a small study7. These programs have been shown to increase strength and power similarly to resistance training.
Other studies compared the energy expenditure and muscular output of upright and recumbent bikes. Ten males who did not ride bicycles were participants. No differences were identified in muscle workload regardless of whether the participants were riding on an upright or recumbent bike.8 However, pedaling a recumbent bike produced greater activity in two of the four muscles being studied (the semitendinosus and tibialis anterior).
Range of Motion
If you are looking for an exercise that increases your range of motion, thereby improving your flexibility—which makes it easier to move around more freely—the recumbent bike does this too.
A stationary bike helped increase the range of motion in the hips, according to a study involving 24 men and 20 women. It also noted that the stationary bike was more effective for enhancing this range than heat packs or whirlpool treatments.9
According to research, riding a recumbent bike increases circulation, which makes body tissues more elastic or more mobile, enhancing flexibility and range of motion.10 This enables the body to stretch more freely.
Since each bike tends to activate slightly different muscles, alternating between an upright and recumbent bike during rehabilitation and exercise programs can provide a variety of fitness benefits. (The hamstrings and shins become more active while reclining. The quads are more actively worked when upright.)11
Recumbent Bike Interval Workout
Try out this recumbent bike workout with intervals. Based on your fitness level or preferences, you can choose the interval lengths and intensity. It’s also a good idea to see if the software on your bike has any interval training programs.
- Warm-up for 5 minutes at a leisurely pace
- Increase the pedal resistance and speed to perform vigorous cardio at an 8 or 9 out of 10 intensity level. Do this for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Reduce the resistance and speed to a moderate pace for a 30-second recovery interval.
- For 10 to 15 minutes, alternate between high and moderate intensity.
- Cool down for 5 minutes.
Summary: Recumbent Bikes Offer an Efficient Cardiovascular
A safe and adaptable way to challenge people of all fitness levels, recumbent bikes offer an efficient cardiovascular and lower-body resistance workout. This makes this exercise routine suitable for both new and seasoned exercisers.
Your workout is only as effective as the effort you’re willing to put into the session, regardless of the cardio equipment you use. To maximize the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise, give each workout your all.
Does Recumbent Bike Burn Belly Fat?
Large buttock, back, and shoulder mustering areas are available on recumbent trikes and bikes. Hence the recumbent trikes and bicycles are a more convenient way to burn calories and reduce belly fat.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Recumbent Bike?
A recumbent bike may not fully engage the core muscles. Users bear much less body weight while reclining in a recumbent bike, requiring less core strength than when pedaling on an upright exercise bike. Additionally, a person can only assume one position on a recumbent bike.
Is Recumbent Bike as Good as Walking?
Stationary cycling will result in the same benefits as walking, with the added bonus that it puts less pressure on your joints than other weight-bearing activities such as walking.